China to train captive-bred Siberian tigers for wilderness

Published: Tuesday 31 October 2006

Living free
C hina plans to train 620 captive-bred Siberian tigers to survive in the wild. Organisers say the campaign will be of great significance in conserving and improving the genetic stock of Siberian tigers.

The captive-bred tigers will be shifted from their enclosures in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, to a 15-ha fenced patch of forest near Mount Changbai on the border with North Korea. Under a similar plan, 12 Siberian tigers were released into the Changbai forest training ground four years ago. The animals produced 34 cubs and showed improved abilities in living in the wild. Experts, however, do not appreciate the plan. "Increased human activities have turned tiger habitats into isolated islands, where large tiger groups split into smaller ones resulting in in-breeding and degraded species," Sun Haiyi, head of the Heilongjiang provincial Institute Wildlife, told Xinhua. Experts have suggested making ecology congenial for Siberian tigers. n

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